Monday, December 21, 2009

Mission statement: It’s not about selling clothes

I understand why many companies struggle with creating their own set of vision, mission and value statements. It’s hard to instil personal values into a business context: What’s relevant? What’s appropriate?

How do we compress our complex corporate culture into a set of words on the page – without embarrassing ourselves, missing the point, boxing ourselves into a corner, or losing the whole spirit of the thing?

Yet getting it right is essential. Identifying a mission or vision is the essential first step to fully understanding it, nurturing it, communicating it to others and preserving (and extending) it.

And of course these days the best new employees judge a company as much by its values and culture as by old-fashioned concepts such as salary and location.

Here’s a great example of a Mission and Value statement for you to think about. It comes from legendary Vancouver-based retailer Please Mum.

It is packed with vibrant language, exciting concepts, and specific, daring intentions. It’s fun, inspiring, hopeful and empowering. It’s the sort of manifesto that would delight any potential employee and excite any potential customer.

Our Mission
Please Mum is a Canadian-based company rooted in a desire to make growing up fun for families.

Driven by customer feedback, we design and create a diverse selection of quality children's clothing that is fashionable, comfortable and easy care.

At the heart of our business is the experience we create for our customers, employees and their families. We strive to create a shopping experience for our customer that is easy and stress free and a work environment for our employees that is vibrant, challenging and provides a garden of opportunity.

Through living our values - Fun, Caring, Challenge, Creativity, Honesty, and Teamwork - we aspire to create an enjoyable experience for customers, employees and their families.

Values represent what is fundamentally important to our company - they guide our behaviour and decision-making. At Please Mum we aspire to 6 core values.

• We take our business seriously, but approach it in a light-hearted manner
• We find joy and excitement in our work

• We promote empathy and understanding to our employees, customers and community
• We strive to provide everyone with what they need to be successful

• We thrive by pushing boundaries and testing limits
• We seek to do great things and learn from our mistakes

• We value imagination and resourcefulness to help separate us from the competition
• We employ interesting and creative people who collaborate to get things done

• Trust is at the core of our foundation
• We are open and truthful with our co-workers and customers

• We foster a team environment by respecting the uniqueness each individual brings to the company
• We are excited to collaborate and share information to help make Please Mum as great as it can be

Rick again: What's your mission? What are your values?

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